PREVIEW: Pirates of Penzance, Theatre Royal, Newcastle

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SET sail for the operatic high seas as The Pirates of Penzance heads to the region.

Next week, D’Oyly Carte Opera Company will make a return to the stage after a 10-year absence in a collaboration with Scottish Opera on Gilbert and Sullivan’s best-loved operetta.

Featuring the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and a 39-strong cast and chorus, this is a vibrant romp through one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s finest scores.

Having turned 21, Frederic should be contractually released from his apprenticeship to a band of pirates, but discovers his birthday is the 29th of February, a leap year. Taking his duty a little too literally, he decides it will be another 63 years before he’s really 21, and only Mabel’s promise to wait sustains him.

The Pirates of Penzance features some of Gilbert’s wittiest lyrics, including the song “I am the very model of a Modern Major-General” while Sullivan mixes his signature catchy melodies with parodies of other opera composers, notably “Verdi’s Il Trovotore in Come, friends, who plough the sea” and “You triumph now.”

D’Oyly Carte Opera Company was founded by Gilbert and Sullivan’s producer Richard D’Oyly Carte in 1878 and has been performing their operas for 130 years.

Ian Martin, general manager of D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Scottish Opera and very excited to be starting a new chapter in our lengthy history.”

•Tickets to The Pirates of Penzance are from £17, and can be purchased from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21, or select your own seat and book online at www.theatreroyal.co.uk.